The Rise of the Republic
For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. -- MATTHEW 26:11
M etaphorically speaking, the Revolution entailed a reconfiguration of the family in which sons replaced fathers, first through violent overthrow and then through generational succession. With the formation of the republic, the notion of citizenship became fundamental, and the Founding Fathers distinguished between natural children who belonged by birthright to the family of the republic and unadoptable orphans, Indians and Negroes, who circled like restless shadows outside its narrow embrace. But there gradually appeared a third category of children, adoptable orphans, or foreigners, who could become naturalized citizens. While naturalization laws appeared to signify a liberalization of earlier Puritan attitudes toward "strangers," they reinforced and even fomented an extraordinary wave of xenophobia during the 1840s and 1850s that recapitulated the exclusionary policies of the Puritans. In short, the Federalists adapted the Puritan notion of election to the political sphere, and as the recipients of God's grace asserted their right not only to serve as spiritual leaders but to regulate political and social conduct ( Griffin, 425-426).
During the first half of the nineteenth century, or the antebellum period, patterns of inclusion and exclusion became firmly established in the wake of the rapid social changes that were engulfing the fledgling nation. Industrialization, immigration, and innovations in transportation and technology were among the factors that created a second Revolution and destabilized the so-